Grange is the place. Tied to my ancestry. I am emotionally connected to the place where my relatives found their way.
Untamed is the state of mind. To be your natural self, and to allow nature to be. It's not an aspiration, its by nature...
I am originally from Miramichi, NB, while Patrick is from Edmonton, AB. After living away from our home provinces for many years, Patrick and I moved to his home town in 2002 to raise our twins. Edmonton has blessed us with wonderful friends, the support of his family, fabulous entertainment and interesting work.
Being a "typical" Maritimer, I have always felt the urge to return to my province. Every summer until they graduated from high school, the children and I would pack the car and travel back to Miramichi to visit their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, extended family, the woods and the River for a few precious weeks. It was a great relief when they got their driver's licenses and could help with the driving!
For years, I was on the lookout for a property on the Northwest Miramichi River on which to establish an organic farm.
The North West Miramichi.
In 2018, I heard that land that once belonged to my great aunt and uncle, Cornelius and Katherine Kingston, was for sale. Cornelius and Katherine bought the property from her cousin in 1919. It was there that they raised and supported their 15 children. Around 1985, the farm was sold outside the family and fell into disrepair.
The Old Kingston Homestead
I was thrilled that Patrick and I were able to buy the property and bring it back into the family. I feel blessed that I was able to talk with my dad about potentially buying it a couple of days before he passed and to hear his stories about playing there as a child. I feel his presence whenever I am there.
The last family picture Christmas 2017
I also feel blessed that Patrick has fully supported my dream of living and working on a rural NB farm.
Patrick and Diefenbaker working hard.
Our plan is to work the farm in the growing season and spend the rest of the year in Edmonton.
In the spring of 2019, Patrick, my siblings and I began clearing, ploughing and tilling the land in order to make it productive once more.
My brother Sam cleared some of the land, which we sold for pulp.
Patrick used a two wheel tractor to clear paths to the river.
My brother Mark used the family Kubota to work on drainage and the landscaping.
My brother Ken (under the direction of my sister Mary Ellen) dug the holes for the apple, pear and nut trees.
Mary Ellen and Ken
We also planted artic kiwi vines, berry shrubs (currant, blueberry, haskap, and raspberry) ...
Mark and Mary Ellen putting in the footings for the Artic Kiwi trellises. It was 40c before noon that day.
Nephew Tyler, me, Mark, Mark's wife Jennifer and Diefenbaker. The trellises were complete by noon.. before it really got hot!
Diefenbaker enjoying what little shade he could find.
and, of course, perennial munstead lavender plants.
The first 2000 lavender plants.
We now have over 6,000 lavender plants in the fields. This past summer, we had our first lavender harvest!
Blooms of lavender.
I started making soaps after I returned to Edmonton with our harvest.
The Copper Penny Barn
The barn is our exciting project for this year. It is over 100 years old. We started repairing the footings and roof in 2019.
We replaced the stolen external barn boards this past summer.
This coming spring, it will undergo a major renovation and become the Copper Penny Barn. There we will host public and private events. We plan to hold a one day Lavender Festival in July. In September, the barn will be the venue for our first wedding!
We are so thrilled that our dream of running an organic farm focused on developing great lavender based products, events and experiences is starting to materialize. We want the farm to be a place that you can come to be your natural self by nature.
Me on a very hot day in August.